Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lowell Cop Cleared

"Lowell police officers cleared in fatal shooting of man" by Olivia Arnold Globe Correspondent  June 08, 2016

The Middlesex district attorney’s office cleared two Lowell police officers on Tuesday in the March fatal shooting of a 39-year-old man who allegedly advanced on them while wielding a meat cleaver and threatening to kill people.

After interviewing witnesses and reviewing evidence, District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office said it concluded that Officers Guillermo Rojas and Chase Suong “acted reasonably and lawfully” when they shot and killed Jose Perez at a Lowell apartment.

“This investigation concludes that, in the totality of the circumstances, the two officers were justified in the use of deadly force and that there was no criminal conduct involved in the shooting of Jose Perez,” Ryan’s office said in a statement.

An internal investigation by Lowell police released Tuesday also cleared the officers.

“While the loss of life is tragic, I have determined the officers used appropriate and justified force to protect themselves and the public from an imminent deadly assault,” Lowell Police Superintendent William Taylor said in a statement.

The incident began on March 26 just before 11 p.m. when Lowell police received a 911 call from an agitated man, later identified as Perez, who threatened to kill people and demanded that police be sent, according to the district attorney, who released a recording of the call.

“Send the [expletive] cops to 75 Cambridge St. . . . Send it right now ‘cause I’m gonna [expletive] kill all everybody,” Perez said on the recording.

A second released 911 call came from the 17-year-old daughter of Perez’s girlfriend.

“I have a suicidal at my house. He has two knives, and he wants to kill himself,” she frantically said, telling police several times to “hurry up.”

When the officers arrived at the apartment, they encountered a “combative” Perez, armed with a meat cleaver in one hand and another large knife in the other, Ryan’s office said. He ignored commands to drop the knives and advanced toward officers, according to the district attorney.

Perez was shot multiple times, with Rojas firing six times and Suong twice, the report said.

The officers immediately began performing first aid on Perez, Ryan’s office said, and he was taken to Lowell General Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Perez was later found to be under the influence of alcohol and drugs, including cocaine, Ryan’s office said. He had a history of mental illness and had attempted suicide using a knife in the past, according to the report.

“I offer my condolences to the family of Mr. Jose Perez for their loss,” the police superintendent said Tuesday.

Rojas and Suong, who were placed on administrative leave during the investigation, have returned to their regular police duties, the department said.


Something seems to have been omitted from the recent report.


"Lowell police shoot, kill man they say was wielding weapons" by Astead W. Herndon Globe Staff  March 27, 2016

LOWELL — A man was fatally shot by Lowell police late Saturday night after he allegedly advanced on the officers while armed with a meat cleaver and another large knife, authorities said.

Just before 11 p.m., Jose Perez, 39, of Lowell called 911 and requested that police be sent because “he was going to kill everyone” at 75 Cambridge St., according to a statement from the Middlesex district attorney’s office.

Residents of Cambridge Street were startled and shaken by the gunshots, which occurred late in the evening on a quiet side street.

Sheila Proulx, a Cambridge Street resident for 27 years, said she heard three gunshots at about 11 p.m., while she and her daughter were watching a movie.

When she heard the commotion, Proulx said she immediately went to her window and saw Lowell police officers applying cardiopulmonary resuscitation to a man.

Proulx said his body was lying on the sidewalk outside the residence at 75 Cambridge St.

“They worked on him for a long time,” Proulx said in an interview Sunday. “They were definitely trying to keep him alive.”

Another neighbor, who asked not to be named, said the residence where the incident occurred has been the subject of police activity on multiple occasions.

The resident also saw police feverishly pumping Perez’s chest, in an attempt to keep him alive.

“Every now and then they’ve had a party where the cops would have to come because of a fight, but nothing like this,” the resident said.

Ron Gibson, who lives next door to the residence, said about 20 to 30 police officers and paramedics were crowding the street after the shooting happened.

Gibson, who did not hear the gunshots but has interacted with the residents of the home, said he was surprised to learn that such a serious incident took place in his community....


"Witness says man slain by Everett officer had knife" by Laura Crimaldi Globe Staff  April 22, 2016

EVERETT — An Everett police officer shot and killed a man in the city’s downtown Thursday afternoon after the man approached him with a knife in his right hand, investigators and a witness said Friday.

Rafael Urquiza, who witnessed the encounter from his restaurant, Regal Mexican Grill on Broadway, said he saw the man twice walk toward the officer with his arms raised and brandishing a knife.

Each time the man advanced, the officer backed up, Urquiza said. He said the man was walking toward the officer when he was shot. He then collapsed in the middle of the intersection of Chelsea Street and Broadway.

“Everything happened so quick,” Urquiza said. “I was afraid a little bit. I never saw something like that before.”

The slain man was identified as 48-year-old Mario Mejia Martinez, whose address is unknown, Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said in a statement issued Friday evening.

The use of deadly force by the officer is under investigation. The confrontation was captured on a city-owned surveillance system, said Meghan Kelly, a spokeswoman for Ryan.

The video of the incident will be made public once investigators finish interviewing witnesses, Kelly said.

Police confronted Martinez at about 4:33 p.m. after receiving complaints that he was harassing people in Everett Square, a busy strip of shops, restaurants, office buildings, a bus stop, and a park, Ryan’s office said.

Urquiza said that before police arrived, Martinez was in front of Cancun Bar & Restaurant, circling a crosswalk-signal. The man was dressed in jeans, a blue striped shirt, and was talking to himself.

Another witness said Martinez was accosting people.

“People were kind of getting weirded out by it,” said Cory Manzon, who lives in Everett. “I think people were getting scared.”

Manzon, 24, said that when Everett police arrived, Martinez had an object in his hand and confronted officers.

Manzon said he could not see what Martinez was holding in his hand. But Manzon said he did hear a police officer yell, “Put down the knife!”

Manzon boarded a bus and left the area just before police opened fire on Martinez, fatally wounding him. Manzon said he later learned from his aunt that Martinez had been shot.

Others who saw the aftermath of the shooting described hearing four to five gunshots. Video captured by witnesses showed an officer performing chest compressions on the man in the middle of the intersection.

In a statement released Thursday, Ryan’s office said the man “ignored multiple commands to drop his weapon and continued to advance on the officer.”

“The officer discharged his weapon striking the individual,” the statement said.

Martinez was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

The officer who fired his weapon was not injured, prosecutors said. Ryan’s office declined to provide his name.

Everett Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie declined to comment Friday because the investigation is ongoing. Mayor Carlo DeMaria did not respond Friday to messages seeking comment; a city spokesman said DeMaria was on vacation and was not available for an interview.

Many people walking near the shooting scene Friday said they were shaken by the violence.

“To see something like that in the news that happened in your city is outrageous and amazing at the same time,” said Shirlene Leach, an Everett resident. “We’re always in the square shopping. It was a shock.”

Manzon said that he was thankful that his 7-year-old nephew was not with him as the events unfolded. “It was frightening to know my nephew was down the street. What if I was in the square with my nephew?” Manzon asked. “I was scared for other people’s well-being.”


Also seeOfficer fatally shoots man in Everett

"Brother disputes Everett police account of fatal shooting" by Laura Crimaldi and Maria Sacchetti Globe Staff  April 28, 2016

EVERETT — The brother of a Salvadoran immigrant who was shot and killed April 21 by an Everett police officer is disputing official accounts of the fatal shooting after viewing surveillance video of the confrontation shown by investigators.

Jose Joaquin Mejia Martinez, 37, said he did not see his older brother, Mario Mejia Martinez, holding a weapon or advancing toward the officer during the confrontation in Everett Square. He said the video shows his brother attempting to walk away from the officer.

“My brother did not threaten the police,” Mejia Martinez said in Spanish in a telephone interview. “That’s a lie.”

They have a witness!

Meghan Kelly, a spokeswoman for Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan, referred to an earlier statement about the shooting when asked to respond to the brother’s retelling of the video. In that statement, authorities said Mario Mejia Martinez was wielding a knife at the time police fired.

Jose Joaquin Mejia Martinez said he saw the video Friday at the Everett Police Department after learning his brother, a married father of seven, had been killed the day before. He said two friends accompanied him and also watched the video.

The video opens with Mario, 48, standing on the street, Jose Joaquin Mejia Martinez said. At one point, he said his brother raised his hands.

“My brother was standing there,” said Mejia Martinez, a painter who has lived in Everett since 2001. “My brother was not doing anything to anyone.”

Then, he said Mario Mejia Martinez turned his back and attempted to walk away. He said he couldn’t tell if his brother’s back was to the officer when shots were fired, but worries the officer might have opened fire as his brother tried to leave.

“I would like to know where, in reality, did those bullets hit my brother?” Mejia Martinez said. “Did they hit in front or in the back?”

He said he hasn’t seen his brother’s body yet.

Some parts of the video are grainy and it has no sound, so Mejia Martinez said he could not determine what his brother and the officer said. He also said he is not convinced investigators showed him the full video because the footage appeared to have interruptions.

It was edited before he saw it?

“Why don’t they show the video from the beginning to the end?” he said. “That’s what we want to see.”

The deadly use of force by the officer is being investigated by Ryan’s office.

In a statement issued last week, the district attorney’s office said police confronted Mario Mejia Martinez after receiving a report about a man harassing pedestrians in the city’s downtown.

The statement said Mejia Martinez drew a knife and “ignored multiple commands to drop his weapon and continued to advance on the officer” before he was shot.

He collapsed in front of Cancun Bar & Restaurant. Video captured by witnesses showed an officer performing chest compressions in the middle of the street.

Rafael Urquiza, who witnessed the encounter from his restaurant, Regal Mexican Grill on Broadway, told the Globe last week he saw Mejia Martinez twice walk toward the officer with his arms raised and brandishing a knife.

Each time the man advanced, the officer backed up, Urquiza said. He said the man was walking toward the officer when he was shot. He collapsed at the intersection of Chelsea Street and Broadway.

Another witness, Cory Manzon, 24, has told the Globe he heard an officer yell, “Put down the knife!”

The district attorney, Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria, and Police Chief Steven A. Mazzie met with church and community leaders Wednesday to discuss the shooting, said Tom Philbin, the city’s director of communications. Philbin said officials discussed a vigil planned for Mejia Martinez on Thursday at the site of the shooting and talked generally about the use of deadly force by police.

He said video of the confrontation was not shown at the Wednesday meeting. Ryan’s spokeswoman has said the video will be made public once investigators finish interviewing witnesses.

Mejia Martinez had no criminal record in Middlesex County, the DA’s office said.

In an interview at Latinos Unidos en Massachusetts, Jose Joaquin Mejia Martinez said his brother moved to Massachusetts in 2004 and worked for a recycling company in Somerville, sending money home to his wife and children.

“He was here was to earn money to support his family,” said Robert Warren, the family’s lawyer.

Lucy Pineda, executive director of Latinos Unidos en Massachusetts, said some immigrants hail from countries where police corruption is rampant, and she worries the deadly shooting could make them lose trust in officers here.

“We come here because we feel safe,” said Pineda, who is also from El Salvador.

Mazzie, the police chief, said immigrants in Everett have nothing to fear from police. He said there have been no fatal police-involved shootings in Everett since he became chief more than 13 years ago.

“We respect everyone who lives, works, and passes through our community,” Mazzie said.



"About 70 mourners from an immigrant community that has worked to foster positive relations with the Everett Police Department gathered here for an emotional vigil Thursday night for a Salvadoran immigrant and father of seven who was fatally shot by police, one day after his brother had questioned official accounts of the deadly confrontation."

Maybe he could have been coached along instead?

"A Lowell middle school boys basketball coach is accused of berating a student and throwing a Rubik’s Cube at him, blaming the teen for a loss."

Also seeLong-stalled Lowell development closer to reality

Which is the last thing you'll find in a paper.